Rafael Mingatos Vieira
July 28, 2013
Text of the Metternich Stele
[The narrative of the stinging of Horus by a scorpion is continued thus]:
"I am Isis, who conceived a child by her husband, and she became heavy with Horus, the divine [child]. I gave birth to Horus, the son of Osiris, in a nest of papyrus plants. I rejoiced exceedingly over this, because I saw [in him one] who would make answer for his father. I hid him, and I concealed him through fear of that [fiend (?)]. I went away to the city of Am, [where] the people gave thanks [for me] through [their] fear of my making trouble [for them]. I passed the day in seeking to provide food for the child, [and] on returning to take Horus into my arms I found him, Horus, the beautiful one of gold, the boy, the child, without [life]. He had bedewed the ground with the water of his eye, and with foam from his lips. His body was motionless, his heart was powerless to move, and the sinews (or, muscles) of his members were [helpless]. I sent forth a cry, [saying]:
"I, even I, lack a son to make answer [for me]. [My] two breasts are full to overflowing, [but] my body is empty. [My] mouth wished for that which concerned him. A cistern of water and a stream of the inundation was I. The child was the desire of my heart, and I longed to protect him (?). I carried him in my womb, I gave birth to him, I endured the agony of the birth pangs, I was all alone, and
the great ones were afraid of disaster and to come out at the sound of my voice. My father is in the Tuat, my mother is in Aqert, and my elder brother is in the sarcophagus. Think of the enemy and of how prolonged was the wrath of his heart against me, [when] I, the great lady, was in his house.
"I cried then, [saying,] 'Who among the people will indeed let their hearts come round to me?' I cried then to those who dwelt in the papyrus swamps (or, Ateh), and they inclined to me straightway. And the people came forth to me from their houses, and they thronged about me at [the sound of] my voice, and they loudly bewailed with me the greatness of my affliction. There was no man there who set restraint (?) on his mouth, every person among them lamented with great lamentation. There was none there who knew how to make [my child] to live.
"And there came forth unto me a woman who was [well] known in her city, a lady who was mistress of her [own] estate. She came forth to me. Her mouth possessed life, and her heart was filled with the matter which was therein, [and she said,] Fear not, fear not, O son Horus! Be not cast down, be not cast down, O mother of the god. The child of the Olive-tree is by the mountain of his brother, the bush is hidden, and no enemy shall enter therein. The word of power of Tem, the Father of the gods, who is in heaven, maketh to live. Set shall not enter into this region, he shall not go round about it. The marsh of Horus of the Olive-tree is by the mountain of his brother; those who are in his following shall not at any time . . . . . . it. This shall happen to him: Horus shall live for his mother, and shall salute (?) [her] with his mouth. A scorpion hath smitten (i.e., stung) him, and the reptile Aun-ab hath wounded him."
Then Isis placed her nose in his mouth so that she might know whether he who was in his coffin breathed, and she examined the wound of the heir of the god, and she found that there was poison in it. She threw her arms round him, and then quickly she leaped about with him like fish when they are laid upon the hot coals, [saying]:
"Horus is bitten, O Ra. Thy son is bitten, [O Osiris]. Horus is bitten, the flesh and blood of the Heir, the Lord of the diadems (?) of the kingdoms of Shu. Horus is bitten, the Boy of the marsh city of Ateh, the Child in the House of the Prince. The beautiful Child of gold is bitten, the Babe hath suffered pain and is not. Horus is bitten, he the son of Un-Nefer, who was born of Auh-mu (?). Horus is bitten, he in whom there was nothing abominable, the son, the youth among the gods. Horus is bitten, he for whose wants I prepared in abundance, for I saw that he would make answer for his father. Horus is bitten, he for whom [I] had care [when he was] in the hidden woman [and for whom I was afraid when he was] in the womb of his mother. Horus is bitten, he whom I guarded to look upon. I have wished for the life of his heart. Calamity hath befallen the child on the water, and the child hath perished."
Then came Nephthys shedding tears and uttering cries of lamentation, and going round about through the papyrus swamps. And Serq [came also and they said]:
"Behold, behold, what hath happened to Horus, son of Isis, and who [hath done it]? Pray then to heaven, and let the mariners of Ra cease their labours for a space, for the Boat of Ra cannot travel onwards [whilst] son Horus [lieth dead] on his place."
And Isis sent forth her voice into heaven, and made supplication to the Boat of Millions of Years, and the Disk stopped in its journeying, and moved not from the place whereon it rested. Then came forth Thoth, who is equipped with his spells (or, words of power), and possesseth the great word of command of maa-kheru, [and said:]
"What [aileth thee], what [aileth thee], O Isis, thou goddess who hast magical spells, whose mouth hath understanding? Assuredly no evil thing hath befallen [thy] son Horus, [for] the Boat of Ra hath him under its protection. I have come this day in the Divine Boat of the Disk from the place where it was yesterday,--now darkness came and the light was destroyed--in order to heal Horus for his mother Isis and every person who is under the knife likewise."
And Isis, the goddess, said:
"O Thoth, great things [are in] thy heart, [but] delay belongeth to thy plan. Hast thou come equipped with thy spells and incantations, and having the great formula of maa-kheru, and one [spell] after the other, the numbers whereof are not known? Verily Horus is in the cradle(?) of the poison. Evil, evil is his case, death, [and] misery to the fullest [extent]. The cry of his mouth is towards his mother(?). I cannot [bear] to see these things in his train. My heart [hath not] rested because of them since the beginning(?) [when] I made haste to make answer [for] Horus-Ra (?), placing [myself] on the earth, [and] since the day [when] I was taken possession of by him. I desired Neheb-ka . . . . . . ."
[And Thoth said:]
"Fear not, fear not, O goddess Isis, fear not, fear not, O Nephthys, and let not anxiety [be to you]. I have come from heaven having life to heal(?) the child for his mother, Horus is . . . Let thy heart be firm; he shall not sink under the flame. Horus is protected as the Dweller in his Disk, who lighteth up the Two Lands by the splendour of his two Eyes; and he who is under the knife is likewise protected. Horus is protected as the First-born son in heaven, who is ordained to be the guide of the things which exist and of the things which are not yet created; and he who under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as that great Dwarf (nemu) who goeth round about the Two Lands in the darkness; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Lord (?) in the night, who revolveth at the head of the Land of the Sunset (Manu); and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Mighty Ram who is hidden, and who goeth round about in front of his Eyes; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Great Hawk which flieth through heaven, earth, and the Other World (Tuat); and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Holy Beetle, the mighty (?) wings of which are at the head of the sky; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Hidden Body, and as he whose mummy is in his sarcophagus; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected [as the Dweller] in the Other World [and in the] Two Lands, who goeth round about 'Those who are over Hidden Things'; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Divine Bennu who alighteth in front of his two Eyes; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected in his own body, and the spells which his mother Isis hath woven protect him. Horus is protected by the names of his father [Osiris] in his forms in the nomes; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected by the weeping of his mother, and by the cries of grief of his brethren; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected by his own name and heart, and the gods go round about him to make his funeral bed; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise."